Wounded, civilians in Mariupol, Ukraine must be evacuated: Turkish president

In phone call with Ukraine's Zelenskyy, Recep Tayyip Erdogan reaffirms support for Russia-Ukraine talks, willingness to be guarantor.

Wounded, civilians in Mariupol, Ukraine must be evacuated: Turkish president

Civilians and injured people in the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol must be evacuated, the president of Turkiye told his Ukrainian counterpart in a phone call on Sunday.

During the call, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Volodymyr Zelenskyy discussed the latest situation on the ground in the Russia-Ukraine war and the negotiation process, said a statement by the Turkish Communications Directorate.

Underlining Turkiye's readiness to provide all means of support during the negotiation process, including mediation efforts, Erdogan said evacuations must be ensured in Mariupol, where the situation is worsening by the day.

Erdogan also told Zelenskyy that in principle, Turkiye would be willing to become a guarantor of Ukraine's security.

Describing his phone call with Erdogan as "important", Zelenskyy on Twitter said: “On the eve of his talks with (Russian President Vladimir) Putin, I stressed the need for immediate evacuation of civilians from Mariupol, including Azovstal, and immediate exchange of blocked troops.”

"Discussed the course of the negotiation process, coordination with Turkiye and other countries of security guarantees for our state. Raised issues related to Ukraine's defense capabilities and global food security, which is under threat due to the blocking of navigation in the Black Sea," he added.

Talks between Russian and Ukrainian delegations in Istanbul on March 29 were seen as a breakthrough in the push to halt hostilities that, according to the UN figures, have claimed the lives of at least 2,435 civilians and left 2,946 more injured since Feb. 24.

More than 5.1 million Ukrainians have fled to other countries, with over 7.7 million more internally displaced, said the UN refugee agency.

After the Istanbul meeting, a Ukrainian negotiator said Kyiv wants Turkiye among the countries that will be guarantors in any deal with Moscow.

In March, Turkiye also brought together the Russian and Ukrainian foreign ministers in its southern resort city of Antalya, the first meeting of senior government officials from the two sides since the start of the war.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 25 Nisan 2022, 00:56

Hüseyin Demir